This article was published online by the Magyar Nemzet on 28 February 2022.
“Compared to the gravity of the situation, everything is proceeding in an organized, orderly, and calm fashion – but at the same time we cannot be overly optimistic,” emphasized Viktor Orbán at Beregsurány, the Hungarian-Ukrainian border town. He stated that the worst is yet to come, so things should not be taken lightly.
“There is a war on the other side of the border, and the frontline is still farther off; it has not reached Transcarpathia yet. There have not been any serious military acts here yet, but if this war goes on, it will come here as well so we must prepare to deal with the consequences,”
– said the Prime Minister. The most important thing is to help those who arrive to our country, but at the same time, we cannot allow Hungary to be plunged into war.
In the PM’s assessment of his meeting with the Russian president, the Prime Minister said: over the past ten days, not only he, but several European leaders have made efforts, including the German chancellor and the French President. They did everything that was humanly possible to avoid what is now underway.
“The peace mission has therefore proven unsuccessful, despite all the EU’s efforts; now we must do our best to return to peace.”
The Prime Minister also pointed out disinformation that is being spread: Hungary was not the only one to oppose Russian banks being excluded from the SWIFT system. In connection with this, he asked journalists to prepare to fight the disinformation that will come in connection with the war.
“At the summit on Thursday, Hungary made it clear that we support all sanctions that are agreed on in the EU. We have not blocked anything,” said the Prime Minister. He highlighted that this is not the time to be audacious, but to be united. This is war.
Before the press conference, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán held a border inspection of soldiers commanded in the eastern part of the country in Hajdúhadház, which he briefed on social media. The PM repeated – as he had already made clear at the NATO world summit – that the safety of the Hungarian people is our highest priority, so Hungary will not partake in this war, and we will not allow ourselves to be plunged into war. He affirmed that Hungary will ensure that all refugees arriving will be properly cared for.
Meanwhile, talks are underway regarding the location for the peace negotiations between Russia and Ukraine. According to the updates, Russia proposed Minsk, Belarus which the Ukrainians did not accept. They suggested Warsaw but Russia did not agree to this. Given the debate that has emerged over the location, Péter Szijjártó, Foreign Minister, suggested Budapest to Sergei Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister, and Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukrainian President; neither party objected to this suggestion over the phone.
According to security political expert, József Horváth,
“Hungary’s current condition would be perfectly suited for the Ukrainian and Russian delegations to negotiate in Budapest.”
As he said, since the escalation of the conflict, Viktor Orbán has reacted calmly to the events and has clearly put his vote in favor of peace. “In this respect, Hungary has always been consistent and moderate in its communication in recent weeks and the past months. This could be a realistic alternative for both the Ukrainians and the Russians,” pointed out the expert.